The Benchmade Knife Company is a knife manufacturer run by Roberta and Les de Asis in Oregon City, Oregon, United States.


Benchmade started in California in 1988 as the Pacific Cutlery Corp. In 1990 the company moved to Clackamas, Oregon. The bulk of Benchmade's initial output consisted of butterfly, or balisong-style knives, which it continues to manufacture, indeed the company has registered "Bali-Song" as a trademark. As of October 2004, the company employs approximately 150 people. Benchmade has had several years of growth and has expanded both the variety of knives it produces and the facility itself.


Benchmade products, by nature of design and materials, are positioned at the high end of the production knife market. Premium blade steels such as 154CM, D2, and CPM S30V steel are used on many models. Benchmade is one of the few manufacturers to have offered high speed M2 tool steel in a production knife.

Benchmade receives a significant amount of revenue from selling restricted-sales knives to the military and law enforcement. Benchmade produces a diverse selection of "auto", or switchblade knives, along with a range of hunting, fishing, utility and miscellaneous knives, however balisongs remain a core product.

Benchmade has a patent on the locking mechanism used in most of the switchblades they produce. Benchmade additionally holds an exclusive licence on use of the McHenry / Williams "AXIS Lock", a strong, spring operated locking mechanism used in both automatic and manual action models.

Benchmade has a long tradition of incorporating knife design from noted custom cutlery makers into their production models. These include Ernest Emerson, Allen Elishewitz, Mel Pardue, Bill McHenry, Neil Blackwood, Mike Snody, Jason Williams, Warren Osborne, and Bob Lum. Several production Benchmade models based on the work of these designers have become influential within the industry.

In recent years, Benchmade has ended its public relationship with Allen Elishewitz. Models incorporating his designs no longer carry the previous Elishewitz markings on the reverse of the blade.


In 1996, Benchmade moved to Oregon City. Apart from Red Class products, which are produced in their "off shore facilities, Benchmade produces more than 90% of its knives in Oregon City, and has succeeded in bringing others back to home production.

One of the reasons Benchmade is located in Oregon —as are many other knife makers— is because Oregon has very relaxed laws towards knives in general and switchblades or butterfly knives specifically; there are no restrictions against selling a switchblade-style knife to an Oregon resident.

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